Tansy is an herb with green, fern-like leaves and yellow flowers. It's native to Europe and Asia and was cultivated by the ancient Greeks for herbal medicines. While large amounts of tansy and concentrated tansy essential oil can be dangerous to ingest, small amounts in teas and seasonings is fine and may even have significant health perks. Ongoing research is demonstrating the many potential benefits of tansy in nutrition and medicine.
The camphor oils in tansy can effectively kill E. coli and staph bacteria, which are becoming more and more difficult to eliminate, grow rapidly in hospitals, and can cause serious infections in the skin, lungs, and stomach. Components of tansy may also have other antibacterial uses in medicines and cleaning products.
Tansy may aid in the expression of important genes that support brain health. One study analyzed the effects of herbal extracts, including tansy, on the brain function of rats with sporadic Alzheimer's disease. They found that rats exposed to tansy extracts performed better on memory tests and showed slower declines in cognition.
Alongside slowing cognitive decline, tansy has been shown to improve spatial reasoning. Rats who were given drugs infused with tansy extracts performed better on maze tests than the rats who did not receive tansy. This may be due to antioxidants in tansy improving brain function and memory.
Nitric oxide is a chemical produced by the body. While it is natural, it can contribute to swelling, joint discomfort, and other aches. Oils in tansy help the body produce less nitric oxide. Tansy also contains a compound that reduces inflammation overall, which could be helpful against arthritis and related illnesses.
Parasitic worms called schistomides are common throughout much of the world. Millions of people and animals are infected by these worms, which cause serious chronic illness. Few drugs are effective against schistomides, but tansy has compounds that kill these parasites. In ancient times, tansy was often used as a deworming medication for livestock, and modern medicine may be able to isolate the parts of this plant with these qualities.
The antibacterial, antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory properties of tansy root make it effective against many kinds of digestive upsets. One of tansy's primary uses in herbal medicine was against stomach ache, diarrhea, and intestinal worms. While ingesting too much tansy can have the opposite effect, making a small number of the leaves into an herbal tea mixture or using them as a seasoning may help to settle the stomach.
Perhaps the most beneficial effect of tansy may be its high antioxidant properties. Over time, by-products of oxygenation — free radicals — can damage DNA and other cells. This can contribute to many kinds of cancers, including stomach, bowel, and esophageal. Tansy can help prevent free radicals, which can reduce the risk of cancers developing.
Chemicals within tansy may be able to reduce the effects of stress and aging on the body. DNA damage over time can contribute to vision loss, dying cells in the brain, arthritis, and other issues. Again, by combating damaging components like free radicals, tansy can help reduce or even reverse this process.
Oxidation can also cause cholesterol to stick to the walls of arteries more easily. This can contribute to coronary heart disease and promote future heart failure. Two major compounds in tansy help it maintain a strong antioxidant effect.
Future studies may uncover the most effective ways to use tansy extracts to prevent and combat heart disease.
Some of tansy's most beneficial effects don't come from ingesting it in teas or medications. Since the middle ages, people have used the smell of tansy to repel mosquitos, and farmers who plant common tansy beside potato plants find fewer potato beetles damaging their crops.
Studies have found that compounds in tansy may help repel ticks, as well. Using tansy to create more effective insect repellents may be one of the best ways for scientists to stop insect-borne illnesses like Lyme disease and malaria before they can get to humans.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.